“If it has been decided that Serzh Sarkisian will become a co-chairman of the Republican Party and president of Armenia in 2008, then this will be the case given the existing moribund situation,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “If it has been decided that in the upcoming parliamentary elections the National Assembly mandates will mainly be divided between the Republican Party and Prosperous Armenia, then the decision is not subject to reversal.” The paper says the Armenian authorities have ample experience in implementing such scenarios, citing the example of last November’s constitutional referendum. “No wonder that the people have become alienated not only from the authorities but also processes taking place in the country,” it says. “They don’t care even about ways of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that despite recent days’ reports, no wealthy parliamentarian or oligarch has formally applied for membership in the Republican Party (HHK) so far. “Nonetheless, there is no panic in the HHK elite, and it believes that everything is proceeding according to plan,” reports the paper. “Under that plan, in the coming days Serzh Sarkisian will become a party member, the Republican Party will be joined by most members of the People’s Deputy [parliamentary group], some businessman-deputies … as well as several members of the Gortsarar parliamentary group that split from Orinats Yerkir. And during the July 22 congress or a few days after it the HHK’s [governing] council will elect Sarkisian as the party’s first deputy chairman charged with political issues.”
“Aravot” cites unnamed government sources as saying that the HHK leader, Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, has privately banned the heads of local governments across Armenia from renting out government-owned office space to any party except the HHK. The paper says the order is primarily directed towards Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia.
“Azg” complains that television coverage of Armenian politics is confined to daily statements made by two dozen politicians that are constantly in the news. “So every day the three million Armenians hear what those 20 persons say,” writes the paper. “[The TV channels] say nothing about what the ordinary segments of the three million think. Thus, there are two Armenias: an Armenia of the TV screen and an Armenia of the ordinary person that never get to meet each other even on the air.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that by unilaterally closing down its main border crossing with Georgia Russia is “showing its teeth not only to Georgia but all those countries that will try to interfere during the G8 summit [in Saint Petersburg] in the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts in Georgia’s favor.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says that Artashes Tumanian, President Robert Kocharian’s former chief of staff, may have been prevented from creating his own party but he has just opened a business law firm based in downtown Yerevan. The paper sees this as a government reward for Tumanian’s “meekness.”